Why heat waves are such a quiet menace and how social conditions contributed to more than 700 deaths during a week-long wave of unprecedented heat and humidity in Chicago in 1995 are the focus of "Heat Wave" written by sociologist Klinenberg. Illustrations. Maps.
On Thursday, July 13, 1995, Chicagoans awoke to a blistering day in which the temperature would reach 106 degrees. The heat index, which measures how the temperature actually feels on the body, would hit 126 degrees by the time the day was over. Meteorologists had been warning residents about a two-day heat wave, but these temperatures did not end that soon. When the heat wave broke a week later, city streets had buckled; the records for electrical use were shattered; and power grids had failed, leaving residents without electricity for up to two days. And by July 20, over seven hundred people had perished-more than twice the number that died in the Chicago Fire of 1871, twenty times the number of those struck by Hurricane Andrew in 1992—in the great Chicago heat wave, one of the deadliest in American history. Heat waves in the United States kill more people during a typical year than all other natural disasters combined. Until now, no one could explain either the overwhelming number or the heartbreaking manner of the deaths resulting from the 1995 Chicago heat wave. Meteorologists and medical scientists have been unable to account for the scale of the trauma, and political officials have puzzled over the sources of the city's vulnerability. In Heat Wave, Eric Klinenberg takes us inside the anatomy of the metropolis to conduct what he calls a "social autopsy," examining the social, political, and institutional organs of the city that made this urban disaster so much worse than it ought to have been. Starting with the question of why so many people died at home alone, Klinenberg investigates why some neighborhoods experienced greater mortality than others, how the city government responded to the crisis, and how journalists, scientists, and public officials reported on and explained these events. Through a combination of years of fieldwork, extensive interviews, and archival research, Klinenberg uncovers how a number of surprising and unsettling forms of social breakdown—including the literal and social isolation of seniors, the institutional abandonment of poor neighborhoods, and the retrenchment of public assistance programs—contributed to the high fatality rates. The human catastrophe, he argues, cannot simply be blamed on the failures of any particular individuals or organizations. For when hundreds of people die behind locked doors and sealed windows, out of contact with friends, family, community groups, and public agencies, everyone is implicated in their demise. As Klinenberg demonstrates in this incisive and gripping account of the contemporary urban condition, the widening cracks in the social foundations of American cities that the 1995 Chicago heat wave made visible have by no means subsided as the temperatures returned to normal. The forces that affected Chicago so disastrously remain in play in America's cities, and we ignore them at our peril. For the Second Edition Klinenberg has added a new Preface showing how climate change has made extreme weather events in urban centers a major challenge for cities and nations across our planet, one that will require commitment to climate-proofing changes to infrastructure rather than just relief responses.
Through a combination of years of field work, extensive interviews, and archival research, Klinenberg brings to life the human catastrophe that was the 1995 Chicago heat wave. 35 halftones. 3 maps.
An investigative work on the corporate takeover of local news and what it means for all Americans. Sociologist Klinenberg takes us into the world of preprogrammed radio shows, empty television news studios, and copycat newspapers to show how corporate own
A sociologist explores the demographic rise in people who are living alone, including interviews with young professionals, middle-aged singles, the divorced and the elderly and discovers that they are more engaged in social and civic life than their married counterparts. 25,000 first printing.
On Thursday, July 13, 1995, Chicagoans awoke to a blistering day in which the temperature would reach 106 degrees. The heat index, which measures how the temperature actually feels on the body, would hit 126 degrees by the time the day was over. Meteorologists had been warning residents about a two-day heat wave, but these temperatures did not end that soon. When the heat wave broke a week later, city streets had buckled; the records for electrical use were shattered; and power grids had failed, leaving residents without electricity for up to two days. And by July 20, over seven hundred people had perished-more than twice the number that died in the Chicago Fire of 1871, twenty times the number of those struck by Hurricane Andrew in 1992—in the great Chicago heat wave, one of the deadliest in American history. Heat waves in the United States kill more people during a typical year than all other natural disasters combined. Until now, no one could explain either the overwhelming number or the heartbreaking manner of the deaths resulting from the 1995 Chicago heat wave. Meteorologists and medical scientists have been unable to account for the scale of the trauma, and political officials have puzzled over the sources of the city's vulnerability. In Heat Wave, Eric Klinenberg takes us inside the anatomy of the metropolis to conduct what he calls a "social autopsy," examining the social, political, and institutional organs of the city that made this urban disaster so much worse than it ought to have been. Starting with the question of why so many people died at home alone, Klinenberg investigates why some neighborhoods experienced greater mortality than others, how the city government responded to the crisis, and how journalists, scientists, and public officials reported on and explained these events. Through a combination of years of fieldwork, extensive interviews, and archival research, Klinenberg uncovers how a number of surprising and unsettling forms of social breakdown—including the literal and social isolation of seniors, the institutional abandonment of poor neighborhoods, and the retrenchment of public assistance programs—contributed to the high fatality rates. The human catastrophe, he argues, cannot simply be blamed on the failures of any particular individuals or organizations. For when hundreds of people die behind locked doors and sealed windows, out of contact with friends, family, community groups, and public agencies, everyone is implicated in their demise. As Klinenberg demonstrates in this incisive and gripping account of the contemporary urban condition, the widening cracks in the social foundations of American cities that the 1995 Chicago heat wave made visible have by no means subsided as the temperatures returned to normal. The forces that affected Chicago so disastrously remain in play in America's cities, and we ignore them at our peril. For the Second Edition Klinenberg has added a new Preface showing how climate change has made extreme weather events in urban centers a major challenge for cities and nations across our planet, one that will require commitment to climate-proofing changes to infrastructure rather than just relief responses.
There is No Such Thing as a Natural Disaster is the first comprehensive critical book on the catastrophic impact of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans. The disaster will go down on record as one of the worst in American history, not least because of the government’s inept and cavalier response. But it is also a huge story for other reasons; the impact of the hurricane was uneven, and race and class were deeply implicated in the unevenness. Hartman and. Squires assemble two dozen critical scholars and activists who present a multifaceted portrait of the social implications of the disaster. The book covers the response to the disaster and the roles that race and class played, its impact on housing and redevelopment, the historical context of urban disasters in America and the future of economic development in the region. It offers strategic guidance for key actors - government agencies, financial institutions, neighbourhood organizations - in efforts to rebuild shattered communities.
In a cemetery on the outskirts of Paris lie the bodies of a hundred of what many have called the first casualties of global climate change. They are the so-called abandoned or forgotten victims of the worst natural disaster in French history, the devastating heat wave that struck France in August 2003, leaving 15,000 people dead. They are those who died alone in Paris and its suburbs, buried at public expense when no family claimed their bodies. They died (and to a great extent lived) unnoticed by their neighbors, discovered in some cases only weeks after their deaths. And as with the victims of Hurricane Katrina, they rapidly became the symbols of the disaster for a nation wringing its hands over the mismanagement of the heat wave and the social and political dysfunctions it revealed. "Chasing Ghosts" tells the stories of these victims and the catastrophe that took their lives. It explores the official story of the crisis and its aftermath, as presented by the media and the state; the anecdotal lives and deaths of its victims, and the ways in which they illuminate and challenge typical representations of the disaster; and the scientific understandings of catastrophe and its management. It is at once a social history of risk and vulnerability in the urban landscape, and an ethnographic account of how a city copes with dramatic change and emerging threats.
In the twentieth century, disasters caused by human beings have become more and more common. Unlike earthquakes and other natural catastrophes, this 'new species of trouble' afflicts person and groups in particularly disruptive ways.
We live in the age of extremes, a period punctuated by significant disasters that have changed the way we understand risk, vulnerability, and the future of communities. Violent ecological events such as Superstorm Sandy attest to the urgent need to analyze what cities around the world are doing to reduce carbon emissions, develop new energy systems, and build structures to enhance preparedness for catastrophe. The essays in this issue illustrate that the best techniques for safeguarding cities and critical infrastructure systems from threats related to climate change have multiple benefits, strengthening networks that promote health and prosperity during ordinary times as well as mitigating damage during disasters. The contributors provide a truly global perspective on topics such as the toxic effects of fracking, water rights in the Los Angeles region, wind energy in southern Mexico, and water scarcity from Brazil to the Arabian Peninsula. Contributors: Nina Berman, Dominic Boyer, Daniel Aldana Cohen, Gökçe Günel, Cymene Howe, Colin Jerolmack, Eric Klinenberg, Liz Koslov, Andrew Lakoff, Valeria Procupez, Jerome Whitington, Austin Zeiderman
Each year, natural disasters threaten the strength and stability of communities worldwide. Yet responses to the challenges of recovery vary greatly and in ways that aren’t explained by the magnitude of the catastrophe or the amount of aid provided by national governments or the international community. The difference between resilience and disrepair, as Daniel P. Aldrich shows, lies in the depth of communities’ social capital. Building Resilience highlights the critical role of social capital in the ability of a community to withstand disaster and rebuild both the infrastructure and the ties that are at the foundation of any community. Aldrich examines the post-disaster responses of four distinct communities—Tokyo following the 1923 earthquake, Kobe after the 1995 earthquake, Tamil Nadu after the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, and New Orleans post-Katrina—and finds that those with robust social networks were better able to coordinate recovery. In addition to quickly disseminating information and financial and physical assistance, communities with an abundance of social capital were able to minimize the migration of people and valuable resources out of the area. With governments increasingly overstretched and natural disasters likely to increase in frequency and intensity, a thorough understanding of what contributes to efficient reconstruction is more important than ever. Building Resilience underscores a critical component of an effective response.
When houses are flattened, towns submerged, and people stranded without electricity or even food, we attribute the suffering to “natural disasters” or “acts of God.” But what if they’re neither? What if we, as a society, are bringing these catastrophes on ourselves? That’s the provocative theory of Catastrophe in the Making, the first book to recognize Hurricane Katrina not as a “perfect storm,” but a tragedy of our own making—and one that could become commonplace. The authors, one a longtime New Orleans resident, argue that breached levees and sloppy emergency response are just the most obvious examples of government failure. The true problem is more deeply rooted and insidious, and stretches far beyond the Gulf Coast. Based on the false promise of widespread prosperity, communities across the U.S. have embraced all brands of “economic development” at all costs. In Louisiana, that meant development interests turning wetlands into shipping lanes. By replacing a natural buffer against storm surges with a 75-mile long, obsolete canal that cost hundreds of millions of dollars, they guided the hurricane into the heart of New Orleans and adjacent communities. The authors reveal why, despite their geographic differences, California and Missouri are building—quite literally—toward similar destruction. Too often, the U.S. “growth machine” generates wealth for a few and misery for many. Drawing lessons from the most expensive “natural” disaster in American history, Catastrophe in the Making shows why thoughtless development comes at a price we can ill afford.
What Hurricane Katrina reveals about the fault lines of race and poverty in America-and what lessons we must take from the flood-from best-selling ''hip-hop intellectual'' Michael Eric Dyson Does George W. Bush care about black people? Does the rest of America? When Hurricane Katrina tore through New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, hundreds of thousands were left behind to suffer the ravages of destruction, disease, and even death. The majority of these people were black; nearly all were poor. The federal government's slow response to local appeals for help is by now notorious. Yet despite the cries of outrage that have mounted since the levees broke, we have failed to confront the disaster's true lesson; to be poor, or black, in today's ownership society, is to be left behind. Displaying the intellectual rigor, political passion, and personal empathy that have won him fans across the color line, Michael Eric Dyson offers a searing assessment of the meaning of Hurricane Katrina. Combining interviews with survivors of the disaster with his deep knowledge of black migrations and government policy over decades, Dyson provides the historical context that has been sorely missing from public conversation. He explores the legacy of black suffering in America since slavery, including the shocking ways that black people are framed in the national consciousness even today. With this call-to-action, Dyson warns us that we can only find redemption as a society if we acknowledge that Katrina was more than an engineering or emergency response failure. From the TV newsroom to the Capitol Building to the backyard, we must change the ways we relate to the black and the poor among us. What's at stake is no less than the future of democracy.
Markets of Sorrow, Labors of Faith is an ethnographic account of long-term recovery in post-Katrina New Orleans. It is also a sobering exploration of the privatization of vital social services under market-driven governance. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, public agencies subcontracted disaster relief to private companies that turned the humanitarian work of recovery into lucrative business. These enterprises profited from the very suffering that they failed to ameliorate, producing a second-order disaster that exacerbated inequalities based on race and class and leaving residents to rebuild almost entirely on their own. Filled with the often desperate voices of residents who returned to New Orleans, Markets of Sorrow, Labors of Faith describes the human toll of disaster capitalism and the affect economy it has produced. While for-profit companies delayed delivery of federal resources to returning residents, faith-based and nonprofit groups stepped in to rebuild, compelled by the moral pull of charity and the emotional rewards of volunteer labor. Adams traces the success of charity efforts, even while noting an irony of neoliberalism, which encourages the very same for-profit companies to exploit these charities as another market opportunity. In so doing, the companies profit not once but twice on disaster.
In the tradition of Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine, a leading geoscientist argues that natural disasters too often push the modern world towards more extremes of inequality
Renowned American sociologist William Julius Wilson takes a look at the social transformation of inner city ghettos, offering a sharp evaluation of the convergence of race and poverty. Rejecting both conservative and liberal interpretations of life in the inner city, Wilson offers essential information and a number of solutions to policymakers. The Truly Disadvantaged is a wide-ranging examination, looking at the relationship between race, employment, and education from the 1950s onwards, with surprising and provocative findings. This second edition also includes a new afterword from Wilson himself that brings the book up to date and offers fresh insight into its findings. “The Truly Disadvantaged should spur critical thinking in many quarters about the causes and possible remedies for inner city poverty. As policymakers grapple with the problems of an enlarged underclass they—as well as community leaders and all concerned Americans of all races—would be advised to examine Mr. Wilson's incisive analysis.”—Robert Greenstein, New York Times Book Review
As the waters of the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain began to pour into New Orleans, people began asking the big question--could any of this have been avoided? How much of the damage from Hurricane Katrina was bad luck, and how much was poor city planning? Steinberg's Acts of God is a provocative history of natural disasters in the United States. This revised edition features a new chapter analyzing the failed response to Hurricane Katrina, a disaster Steinberg warned could happen when the book first was published. Focusing on America's worst natural disasters, Steinberg argues that it is wrong to see these tragedies as random outbursts of nature's violence or expressions of divine judgment. He reveals how the decisions of business leaders and government officials have paved the way for the greater losses of life and property, especially among those least able to withstand such blows--America's poor, elderly, and minorities. Seeing nature or God as the primary culprit, Steinberg explains, has helped to hide the fact that some Americans are simply better able to protect themselves from the violence of nature than others. In the face of revelations about how the federal government mishandled the Katrina calamity, this book is a must-read before further wind and water sweep away more lives. Acts of God is a call to action that needs desperately to be heard.
One of the most important public policy issues in the United States is how to improve the life prospects of disadvantaged youth who, in their formative years, face low-quality school systems, poor access to health care, and high-crime environments. The Problems of Disadvantaged Youth includes a broad range of research examining various aspects of disadvantage, and ways of increasing the ability of low-income youths to improve their circumstances later in life. Taking an empirical economics perspective, the nine essays in this volume assess the causal impacts of disadvantage on youth outcomes, and how policy interventions can alleviate those impacts. Each chapter develops a framework to describe the relationship between youths and later life outcomes, addressing such factors as educational opportunity, health, neighborhood crime rates, and employment. This vital book documents the serious short- and long-term negative consequences of childhood disadvantage and provides nuanced evidence of the impact of public policy designed to help needy children.
The natural beauty of Austin, Texas, has always been central to the city's identity. From the beginning, city leaders, residents, planners, and employers consistently imagined Austin as a natural place, highlighting the region's environmental attributes as they marketed the city and planned for its growth. Yet, as Austin modernized and attracted an educated and skilled labor force, the demand to preserve its natural spaces was used to justify economic and racial segregation. This effort to create and maintain a "city in a garden" perpetuated uneven social and economic power relationships throughout the twentieth century. In telling Austin's story, Andrew M. Busch invites readers to consider the wider implications of environmentally friendly urban development. While Austin's mainstream environmental record is impressive, its minority groups continue to live on the economic, social, and geographic margins of the city. By demonstrating how the city's midcentury modernization and progressive movement sustained racial oppression, restriction, and uneven development in the decades that followed, Busch reveals the darker ramifications of Austin's green growth.
"How much compensation ought to be paid to a woman who was raped 7,500 times? What would the members of the Commission want for their daughters if their daughters had been raped even once?" —Karen Parker, speaking before the U.N. Commission on Human Rights Seemingly every week, a new question arises relative to the current worldwide ferment over human injustices. Why does the U.S. offer $20,000 atonement money to Japanese Americans relocated to concentration camps during World War II, while not even apologizing to African Americans for 250 years of human bondage and another century of institutionalized discrimination? How can the U.S. and Canada best grapple with the genocidal campaigns against Native Americans on which their countries were founded? How should Japan make amends to Korean "comfort women" sexually enslaved during World War II? Why does South Africa deem it necessary to grant amnesty to whites who tortured and murdered blacks under apartheid? Is Germany's highly praised redress program, which has paid billions of dollars to Jews worldwide, a success, and, as such, an example for others? More generally, is compensation for a historical wrong dangerous "blood money" that allows a nation to wash its hands forever of its responsibility to those it has injured? A rich collection of essays from leading scholars, pundits, activists, and political leaders the world over, many written expressly for this volume, When Sorry Isn't Enough also includes the voices of the victims of some of the world's worst atrocities, thereby providing a panoramic perspective on an international controversy often marked more by heat than reason.

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